Providing they’ve done their homework, selecting the optimum markets to tap into and creating user-friendly and engaging web content to attract potential customers, anyone who has signed-up to an affiliate program (or programs) will appreciate how lucrative this business model can be. The rate at which affiliate marketing is evolving may have slowed down as retailers and affiliates settle into making the most of this marketing system, but there are still interesting times ahead. Here are some of the trends predicted to affect this type of e-commerce scheme in the months ahead.

Search engine rankings 

It may be simple but referral-based marketing is still a major aspect of online commerce, and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Whenever a user goes to their Google bar and inputs something along the lines of “product reviews” it indicates they’re hardly just casual Internet browsers – they’re already in purchasing mode. Enticing and engaging these customers should remain a top priority for any affiliate marketer. So affiliates who put in the effort to keep one eye on the review terms to boost their Google rankings, spending time constructing web pages of real value, will continue enjoying success as an affiliate marketer.

Geographic expansion 

While the ‘belts and braces’ aspect of affiliate marketing, the site content and marketing approach, may remain an upwardly coasting trend, one area destined to evolve considerably over the next 12 months is diversification into new geographic markets. More and more Asian and African entrepreneurs and companies are making an impact in e-commerce, with the global market continually expanding. So if you are an affiliate marketer you should be mindful of the opportunities being afforded in emerging areas, from long-established business centers such as Singapore, Hong Kong and the Gulf States, to developing regions such as India, China and Indonesia.

As global customers become more au fait with online purchasing and feel less reticent about using credit cards, business opportunities will boom. This trend will work its way up to business-to-business retailing, with lead generation featuring prominently – businesses will become even more proactive in cultivating potential customers for their products and services.

Major networks 

There will be no sign of any let-up where major affiliate networks are concerned. Affiliate networks such as TopOffers b2b affiliate marketing network will continue going from strength-to-strength as merchants and advertisers seek out platforms for launching affiliate programs. More web publishers will be collaborating with these networks in order to harness the potential for monetizing blogs and websites.

Advertisers need to be focused on making a more competent job of diversification when it comes to their traffic sources. Instead of relying on coupon affiliates or browser extension affiliates that tend to over-simplify this business model, better to look at niche web publishers that keep the product at the center of their investment, ensuring revenue sources are kept at a broader level.

In order to achieve this there are recruiting tools that the major affiliate networks will provide. The marketers must stay abreast of the proactive recruiting strategies that will in gather customers according to niche or category.

Specialization 

There has always been a debate in affiliate marketing about whether it is more advisable to dwell on a few programs and dedicate time into making the most out of the promotional potential, or maintain a portfolio a such programs, devoting sufficient energy for each to turn over. But it would be far more recommended that merchants put resources into expanding their affiliate channels, thus spreading any potential risk and avoiding the ‘single point of failure’ dilemma. Rather than relying on half a dozen affiliates to provide income, it would be more lucrative to maintain a diverse publisher base allowing affiliate channels to grow annually.

Communication 

If affiliate marketers want to stay ahead of the game they should consider expending energy on customer awareness. The crux of running successful affiliate programs is to give clients the impression of how important they are. Not enough affiliates bother to communicate regularly or reach out through social media. Putting together regular well-constructed newsletters is not an onerous task, but it will reap benefits in the longer-term. Contented customers are far more likely to participate in the program. Ultimately, they’ll be inspired to purchase.